If a person has a criminal record in a European country but moves in an other EU country, will their criminal record affect their own bureaucratical things, like applying for the country's citizenship and furtherwards??

For details'sake, the two countries involved are, let's say, Italy and France, and those crimes are on a penal level, like for example cellphone theft, not just light misdemeanors.

  • What is the person's citizenship? In what country did the criminal violation occur? In what capacity was the person in the country where the criminal violation occurred? What kind of violation was it, and what punishment was imposed? To what country does the person move? Does the first country share criminal record information with the second country? What are the second country's laws and rules about incoming residents? What must incoming residents to the second country do to obtain residency? This is not answerable without much more specificity. I vote to close for "needs more detail." Apr 27, 2020 at 17:53
  • @abdul It might affect job applications, if a prospective employer requires a criminal record check to include time spent outside the country where the person is currently living.
    – Traveller
    Apr 29, 2020 at 7:49
  • I realize now that the question doesn't specify the citizenship of the person. It makes a massive difference, both answers assume we are talking about EU citizens. If we are talking about a third-country citizen, all bets are off. Also, France knows three categories of criminal offenses: contravention, délit and crime. All the offenses you mentioned are in the middle category, not quite misdemeanors but they do not rise to the most serious crime category (which includes anything punished by more than 10 years in jail).
    – Relaxed
    May 3, 2020 at 9:39

2 Answers 2


An EU-Country can request a ECRIS record for a specific person, which will contain the national entries of other EU-Countries.

This is basically a summary of

  • Italy: certificato penale
  • Germany: Führungszeugnis

criminal/conduct record certificates of the participanting countries.

Depending on the jurisdiction, certain convictions expire and therefore don't turn up on the 'simple' versions of these certificates (they will be shown in the 'extended' version).

It is likely that each participating country allows for an individual to apply for their certificate (in Germany: at the registry office).

One should assume that when applying for citizenship, the responsible authority will request such a certificate.


  • (+1) The stats reveal only about a thousand requests a year linked to a change in citizenship, I am not sure you can assume every country does it systematically (according to the reports on the EU website, Germany is a clear outlier in that it uses this database a lot more than everybody else, just as it is with the SIS). Still a good idea to assume they could, though. Many countries might also not bother and ask the applicant to provide relevant documentation.
    – Relaxed
    Apr 28, 2020 at 14:46
  • @Relaxed so I guess that this is just a theoretical or formal things that is up to any administration, if they want it they ask it, otherwise they can simply don't bother and go ahead.
    – abdul
    May 1, 2020 at 21:14
  • @abdul No, it's not theoretical but it's the way most EU systems work: they provide a framework and some tools, countries remain free of making their own decisions in many areas and differences in legal cultures are still large. Note that ECRIS was created to cover EU nationals, earlier convictions from the Moroccan national you mentioned in another comment might not be in that database.
    – Relaxed
    May 3, 2020 at 9:31

You are always allowed to move back to your own country, so we ignore that.

It all depends on the severity of the crime. Within the EU, there would have to be a serious crime to keep you out since you have the right to enter another country normally. I couldn’t say exact numbers, but anything with a possible two year sentence would be a problem.

If you are not a EU citizen, you start with no right to enter. A country decided if it is good for them to let you in. So a lesser sentence might cause you trouble.

  • Firstly my question was entirely hypothetical, it does not concern myself
    – abdul
    Apr 27, 2020 at 21:24
  • Were does the two-year threshold come from? My personal guess is that it's too low for entry (past convictions cannot formally be used to deny entry to EU citizens, only current danger can) but too high for citizenship (one of the OP's questions). In practice, non-EU citizens might actually find it easier, not because they have a strong legal claim to anything but because data exchange is limited.
    – Relaxed
    Apr 28, 2020 at 14:44
  • @Relaxed thanks for your comments. As far as my little knowledge forwards me, a Moroccan national could commit any illegal thing (not exceeding decency and human limits of course), be recorded for it and face no further hassle in, let's say, France. For istance I know one that was a massive delinquent here, and his crimes varied from selling illegal substances to theft. Now he lives in France and he lives perfectly fine, maybe too well for what he did here in Italy. BTW here authorities tended to ignore him sometimes, nevertheless he has records, but I guess those records are irrelevant now.
    – abdul
    May 1, 2020 at 21:10
  • I think that if I did those things, I would be literally bureaucratically tortured here and outside Italy. Filthy society I live in.
    – abdul
    May 1, 2020 at 21:16
  • @abdul It's more complicated than that. You have to take into a account the seriousness of the crime (there are many crimes more serious than selling illegal substances and theft), when they were committed, whether the French authorities know about them, any other citizenship or claim to live in France that person might have (e.g. family) and remember that rules around citizenship are much much stricter. I know an Algerian national who grew up in France and is otherwise an upstanding citizen but was denied French citizenship because of a couple of missed alimony payments.
    – Relaxed
    May 3, 2020 at 9:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.